Snapshots from 2/3 Camp
By NMC - June 21, 2018
Posted in Children's Ministry, Summer Camps, Stories from NMC
It was a bit of a throwback, the kind that made me smile as my own memories of summer camp flooded my mind. As groups at 2/3 camp explored The Lodge in Syracuse, I saw a boy pause at a seemingly ordinary building, raise his disposable camera to his eye, and push the shutter button. Then the all-too familiar click-click-click of the gears turning to make room for the next picture reached my ears.
So often our experiences are a lot like this. They are formed in little snapshots. They may not be perfect or they may not seem extraordinary to others. Yet, they are the moments that form our lives, both significant and insignificant.
If we could look at the pictures this boy took at camp, we might see scenes from the campus—the giant trees, the bright sun, the chapel, his room. We might see scenes from lunch or the late-night campfire or his cabin group. We might see the giant slip-n-slide or the worship stations or the leader who received a pie to the face at the end of camp. We might get a glimpse of the snapshots that defined this incredible camp experience.
There is nothing like KidMin worship. It’s a whole-body effort. Arms flail. Legs bounce up and down. Hands smack together. Hips move back and forth. Sometimes these are choreographed efforts. Other times, they are chaotic and random. Nearly all of the time, there is joy. Kids sing and dance and laugh with their friends. There isn’t any room for somber songs among this group, only upbeat music that talks about how big God’s love is, how great God is, and how loudly they will sing for Him.
This kind of dancing and unashamed joy was the scene during every worship time at 2/3 camp. Alongside their counselors and peers, our second and third graders threw themselves into worship. They sang about the journey of following Jesus. They sang about the river of living water they found in Jesus. They sang about dancing for Jesus, shouting for Jesus, jumping for Jesus. They sweat like mad, and they worshiped the way David did in the Bible—drenched in reckless abandon.
During the first chapel, kids were introduced to a place far, far away called Knightsville. Here, boys and girls had to earn coveted badges in order to become a hero, but one boy wasn’t quite strong enough, smart enough, ortalented enough to earn this honor. One day, though, he found instructions on how to become a hero in a box hidden in the woods. Our kids embarked on a journey with this knight to learn exactly what being a hero meant. They sat on the edge of their seats and soaked up every bit of Miss Jen’s words.
As she taught, Miss Jen asked the kids what kind of qualities made someone a hero. Hands flew in the air.
One child said, “Being brave.”
Another said, “Saving people.”
And still another said, “Being kind and willing to do anything.”
Throughout 2/3 camp, our kids learned that heroes are courageous. They tell God their fears and trust that He is stronger than what scares them. They are selfless. They think of others first, even when it’s difficult. Heroes know the truth. They do the right thing, even when others tell them differently.
Our kids learned that being a hero is much more than being strong or talented or smart. It’s about living the way Jesus calls His followers to live.
Between cabin group times, stations around the camp, and free time, our kids experienced so many moments of laughter, the kind that welled up from deep within their bellies. Groups ran around the camp on a scavenger hunt yelling, “charge!” They giggled when they told Mr. Ben that they were going to choose him to be the leader who was pied at the end of camp. They told funny stories as they stood in line for lunch. They squealed with delight as they slid down the giant slip-n-slide.
NMC Camps are known for being filled with both serious moments and silly, fun moments. At 2/3 camp, kids experienced these silly, fun moments every day with friends and camp leaders. They played muddy tug-of-war, slung water balloons off the side of a hill, jousted, and played dragon, princess, and knight—a different version of rock-paper-scissors.
We believe that these silly, fun moments can be just as valuable as moments of worship and teaching. Through them, kids have the chance to meet new people, form new relationships, make new memories, and experience that belly-deep kind of laughter we all need.
The Head and Heart Moments
The final snapshot is one that is hard to capture on camera. It was the kind of moment that happens inside the head and the heart. It was moment set aside with Jesus. It was time spent praying and reading Scripture. In this space, the Holy Spirit was often working in kids’ hearts, coming alive to them in a new way.
These are the kinds of moments that keep our KidMin team going. They are the reason our team invests so much time and energy and effort into Summer Camp. These are the moments that bring about life change and heart change, and we are so grateful for the ways kids encountered Jesus at camp.
Thank you to those who prayed for our 2nd and 3rd graders while they were at camp. Your prayers had a significant impact on the work God did in kids’ lives. Join us as we continue to pray for our campers this summer.
- K/1 Camp: June 26
- 4/5 Camp: July 6-8
- MSM Camp: July 9-12
- HSM Camp: July 13-17